News and Updates
July 5, 2016
On June 23, Making Change at Walmart (MCAW), along with The Black Institute, the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, and ColorOfChange.org, sent a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon that calls on the retail giant to withdraw its sponsorship of the 2016 Republican National Convention due to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s history of racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran, and Islamophobic remarks. A full copy of the letter can be viewed here.
“Walmart cannot afford to stay silent when it comes to Donald Trump,” said Jess Levin, communications director at MCAW. “Throughout his presidential campaign, he has managed to offend men and women of all races and religions and across the political spectrum with his racist, misogynistic, anti-veteran and Islamophobic statements. These are Walmart customers and Walmart employees. Walmart needs to send a message that it will not support bigotry, and join the growing list of companies who are refusing to sponsor this year’s Republican National Convention.”
MCAW has launched an online petition where supporters can sign on to the letter. To date, over 10,000 supporters have signed the petition.
June 15, 2016
Ariana Davis, a UFCW Local 21 member who works at Safeway, spoke at the White House United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C. She shared the stage with President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, actress Kerry Washington and Oprah to discuss key gender equality issues.
Ariana presented with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler about the best way to give working women equal pay and an equal say – a union. Equal pay, fair schedules, paid leave – the bottom line is that if we stand together and negotiate together, we win together.
In front of a crowd of 5,000 people, Ariana shared her experience with being a part of UFCW Local 21 in Seattle. “Being in a union has allowed me to negotiate for and win higher wages, good benefits and economic stability. But the truth is, the power of a union is about much more than dollars and cents. I’ve stood up for my friends at work who were being disrespected by management. And I helped them get justice on the job. That’s a powerful feeling. I am a force in my community.”
Evidence shows that union membership increases wages for all workers, but women experience especially large advantages. Women are the primary breadwinners in 38% of American households – paying them less for no reason puts millions of families and communities at a disadvantage.
Back in the other Washington, Ariana has been busy collecting thousands of signatures as the citizen petitioner behind Initiative 1433, a statewide ballot measure which will raise the minimum wage to $13.50 and provide workers with up to seven days of paid sick leave.
May 24, 2016
Last week, dozens of Stop & Shop union members, staff, and community members from New England UFCW locals went out to Stop & Shop stores as part of a Customer Appreciation Day to celebrate the customers whose support helped win a strong union contract for over 35,000 Stop & Shop union members throughout New England and the over 1,500 members in western Massachusetts.
Stop & Shop union members worked without a contract for over two months. During this period, thousands of customers signed petitions in support of a fair contract, made countless calls to the company asking them to offer a fair deal to hard working union members, and made their opinions known in the stores in favor of a good contract.
With their support, our bargaining committee was able to negotiate collectively for:
• 480 New Full-Time Jobs
• Fair & Predictable Scheduling so that we can spend time with our families and provide for our families
• Fair Pay and a path to $15 for all full-time employees
• Affordable Healthcare for our families
Matt Szulborski, Organizing Director of UFCW Local 1459 said, in gratitude to customers, “Working families coming together on the job and in the community helped win a better life for Stop & Shop union members. Thank you for all your support and help. I believe with a voice at work and communities coming together, all working people can gain a better life.”
May 19, 2016
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Last week, members of Congress from across the country, together with members of the UFCW, joined together to help launch the National Association of Letter Carriers’ “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive.
“Stamp Out Hunger,” the largest single-day food drive, invited Americans to leave food by their mailboxes on Saturday, May 14 for collection by their neighborhood letter carriers for delivery to local food pantries.
This year, the UFCW, as a national title sponsor, invited Congressional offices and members from both sides of the aisle to participate. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Alma Adams (D-N.C.), and Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) and their staff participated in helping us to promote this worthy cause.
UFCW Locals from all across the country also hosted their own events, making this year’s food drive one of the biggest and best that anyone had ever seen.
UFCW members see the effects of hunger in America every single day. Every time someone has to turn back and put something away in one of our checkout lines because they don’t have enough money, we feel for them. For millions of families, this year’s food drive was a small, but important, step towards fixing that problem.
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May 18, 2016
On May 12, nearly 450 workers at the Mission Foods plant in Mountain Top, Pa., voted to join UFCW Local 1776. Mission Foods workers make a full line of Mexican food products, including tortillas, wraps and salsas used in restaurants and sold in supermarkets on several continents.
“This is one of the greatest moments of my life knowing that we are not going to fend for ourselves anymore, but have representation,” said Nadia Vlavonou, a Mission Foods employee.
“I applaud the workers at Mission Foods for making the decision for union representation on the job,” said Wendell Young, IV, president of UFCW Local 1776. “Having a union will help these workers feel safe and secure on the job – something all workers should feel when they show up and work hard every day.”
The workers’ victory was the successful conclusion of a months-long campaign designed to give a voice to the Mission Foods workers in Mountain Top. This campaign is a piece of the bigger picture that aims to raise wages and benefits for all workers in the meatpacking and poultry industries.
“The goal is to better the lives of working people throughout the country. The Mission Foods workers are a great example of what standing together and making a well informed decision can achieve. These workers will inspire others to speak out for better working conditions and respect,” said Young.
“This is a victory for all of us,” said Benito Tapia, a Mission Foods employee.
The Mission Foods workers will join thousands of UFCW Local 1776 packinghouse and food processing workers in Pennsylvania at plants such as Empire Kosher Poultry in Mifflintown, Cargill in Hazelton, JBS in Souderton and Citterio USA in Freeland.
May 13, 2016
Oxfam reports unionized poultry workers have better workplace protection; non-unionized poultry workers in Pampers
– Yesterday’s Washington Post Wonk Blog post “I had to wear Pampers’: The cruel reality the people who bring you cheap chicken allegedly endure,” highlighted inhuman working conditions within the poultry industry, as documented by a new Oxfam report.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), represents thousands of workers in the poultry industry. UFCWreleased the following statement today in response to the story and subsequent news coverage:
“The indignity with which poultry workers are being treated in America has to stop. Workers need to know they have a right to organize and that organized workers have more opportunities to protect themselves from this type of abuse.
“The headline is salacious, but the heart of the matter is that unionized workers can speak freely about dangerous working conditions without fear of retaliation. This leads to a healthier and more productive work environment and a safer product for consumers.”
From the Oxfam Report No Relief: Denial of Bathroom Breaks in the Poultry Industry (page 3):
In the course of hundreds of interviews, only a handful of workers reported that their bathroom needs are respected. These exceptions are primarily in plants that have unions, which offer important protections, inform workers of their rights, and ensure they have a voice on the job. Unionized workers report that they feel comfortable leaving or stopping the line when their requests are denied for too long. Roughly a third of the poultry workforce is unionized, leaving most workers without these crucial protections.
The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.
May 11, 2016
On May 5, the hard-working men and women at a ConAgra plant in Indianapolis voted to join the UFCW union family and become part of UFCW Local 700.
Nearly 300 workers make Marie Callendar’s pies at the plant, which was formerly owned by another company and purchased by ConAgra about three years ago. Organizers handbilled the plant and learned about the issues most important to this diverse group of workers, including better pay, fair treatment, and respect on the job. UFCW Local 700 represents about 300 workers making Reddi-Wip and margarine at a ConAgra plant less than three miles away from the newly organized facility. At the union plant, workers earn higher wages, have better benefits, and have job security through their union contract.
“We can now join our sister plant with the right to negotiate for a brighter future,” said Kenny Green, a lead organizing committee member. “By forming our union, we’re standing up for better wages and benefits, and most importantly, a voice on the job.”
May 6, 2016
UFCW announces 100 organizing wins in roughly 100 days in 2016.
Washington, D.C. –Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), America’s largest private sector labor union, announced its 100th organizing campaign win of 2016. UFCW’s 100 wins in 100 days reflects the frustration felt by hard-working people across this country. The economic pressure felt by working Americans is higher than ever and more and more of them are looking to unions for relief.
“A national conversation about wealth inequality is occurring in packing houses and on the floors of retail stores all over the country,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “UFCW has 100 examples of how these conversations are moving workers to form a union and take action. Workers are realizing that partnering with an established union can help secure the wages and benefits that put them on a path to a better life.”
Wealth inequality has become a dominant issue in this year’s Presidential primaries. In both parties, large crowds of voters assembled for candidates campaigning on a message of economic populism. Concurrently, UFCW field organizers saw that same enthusiasm cross over into their campaigns. Increased attention to wages and inequality has motivated people to become UFCW members.
- Workers in 26 out of 50 states have already joined UFCW this year.
- Over 50 percent of UFCW locals have had successful organizing drives
- 55 percent of adults under 30 hold a favorable view of unions (Pew).
- In 10 years, millennials will make up 75 percent of the global work force,
UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members help put food on our nation’s tables and serve customers in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Learn more about the UFCW at www.ufcw.org.
May 4, 2016
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The workers at the Viscofan plant in Danville, Illinois, deserve safe jobs, they say in a newly launched petition to The Viscofan Group Chairman Jose Domingo de Ampuero y Osma. The workers, who are members of UFCW Local 686, and their families shouldn’t have to worry whether their loved ones will come home in one piece when they return from work each day.
After a successful year, Viscofan has seen positive growth, which is centered on the work done by these members and others in North America. But as company sales and profits increase, the workers say they are being hurt by the plant. The Danville plant had 18 violations of U.S. health and safety law in the last seven years, yet Viscofan has refused union proposals to improve the safety of their workplace.
These Local 686 members are now asking supporters to sign their petition that says the company’s success shouldn’t come at the expense of the health and safety of its workers. The Viscofan plant is an integral part of the Danville community and its workers count on the good, safe, family-supporting jobs it provides. They are asking the company to send its negotiators back to the table with an edict to make the plant safer, the community stronger, and share in the success. Click here to sign the petition.
May 3, 2016
El Super Reports 5th Consecutive Quarter with a Decline in Customer Traffic Since Start of Union Initiated Consumer Boycott
—Negative El Super sales coincide with Formal Settlement Agreement with US Government ordering company to furnish information and bargain in good faith with UFCW —
Los Angeles— Grupo Comercial Chedraui – the parent company of El Super grocery stores in the U.S. – has reported another quarter of disappointing sales growth. The company’s growth performance has been weakened by negative same store sales (SSS) in its El Super grocery store segment as reported over the past year, a period which coincided with the consumer boycott in the U.S. Same store sales at El Super stores in the U.S. declined for the fifth consecutive quarter since El Super workers and their union, UFCW, launched a consumer boycott of the grocery chain in December 2014. The Boycott was targeted at the Company’s unfair labor practices, its failure to negotiate in good faith and its failure to reach a fair agreement with its workers.
The El Super sales decline during the first quarter of 2016 is significant because the company added four new stores in the period just prior to the last 12 months. The four new stores—two opened in the 4th quarter of 2014, and one each in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2014. The first quarter 2016 new store benefit represents the largest new store boost to El Super’s SSS in more than a year. Inclusion of these new stores leads to an expectation that U.S. SSS growth would increase, not decline.
Recently available U.S. government data on labor hours during 2014 and 2015 at 17 El Super stores in California and Arizona, eight of which were subject to active pickets as part of the consumer boycott during 2015 and nine of which were not, reveals an interesting pattern. The data – maintained by El Super in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) – shows that El Super cut labor hours at all stores in our sample which were subject to active pickets in 2015, while hours for the non-picketed stores in our sample were relatively flat and showed no consistent pattern. El Super workers have reported some store managers blamed the consumer boycott for poor sales and resulting in the need to make cuts in hours, and further undermines the company’s denials that the boycott has had a negative effect on sales.
El Super Enters into Rare ‘Formal Settlement Agreement’ with U.S. Government to Resolve Charges it Violated Workers’ Rights
The Union has continued to seek to hold the Company accountable for its actions with respect to negotiations through all legal avenues. The reporting of negative sales growth at El Super stores coincides with an April 28, 2016 ‘Formal Settlement Stipulation’ between El Super, UFCW unions that represent El Super workers, and the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. A formal settlement contains a direct order from the National Labor Relations Board itself and is very rare. Consistent with NLRB law and policy the formal settlement can serve as evidence that El Super is a regular violator of labor law and that EL Super has a proclivity to violate the Act.
Under the terms of the Stipulation, El Super has been ordered to ‘cease and desist’ from:
(a) Failing or refusing to bargain in good faith with the UFCW regarding wages, hours and other working conditions of the employees
(b) Failing or refusing to provide UFCW with information that is relevant and necessary to their roles as the unit’s bargaining representative.
(c) Failing to timely furnish the Unions with information that is relevant and necessary to their role as the unit’s bargaining representative.
(d) In any like or related manner interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of their federal labor rights.
In connection with the Stipulation, the U.S. Government ordered El Super to:
(a) Bargain collectively and in good faith with the UFCW.
(b) Provide UFCW Local 770 with a seniority list for unit employees at its Arleta, California store that includes employees’ dates of hire, position titles, rates of pay, and whether they are classified as full-time or part-time.
(c) Provide the UFCW with the a seniority list for all unit employees that includes employees’ full names, last four digits of their social security numbers, hire dates, wage rates, seniority dates, and full-time/part time statuses.
El Super workers have been fighting to win a fair union contract from El Super since September 2013. The information the company was ordered to provide is essential to formulating contract proposals that address UFCW El Super members’ longstanding goals of winning fair pay and more guaranteed hours for full-time workers.
About El Super
El Super is managed by the Paramount, California, based Bodega Latina Corp. El Super’s business model focuses on serving first, second and third-generation U.S. consumers of Mexican descent. Grupo Comercial Chedraui (Chedraui) is Mexico’s third-largest retail chain with over 42,000 employees in 224 stores throughout the country. Through its 84.85% ownership stake, Chedraui controls California-based Bodega Latina Corporation, which does business as the El Super grocery chain. During 2015, El Super opened five new stores – bringing its total to 54 locations. It has 46 stores in California, five stores in Arizona, and three in Nevada.